Metta World Peace: Floyd Mayweather Jr., Kobe Bryant have 'a lot in common'
The most apt summary of Floyd Mayweather's boxing greatness didn't come from ringside at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Saturday night, but from a Kobe Bryant tweet a few hundred miles away.
Within minutes of Mayweather's clinical demolition of Robert Guerrero, Bryant described the fighter as "Bobby Fischer with gloves," a reference to the genius chess world champion of the 1970s. Given that Mayweather took apart Guerrero with movement and tactics rather than brute force, it could not have been a more apropos assessment.
It's hard to liken Mayweather to any boxer in this era; his pound-for-pound dominance is clear. When seeking comparison, a chess maestro of yesteryear works.
But for those who either can't remember that far back or care little for the intricacies of chess, a more modern comparator is needed, and Bryant may have more in common with Mayweather than anybody else.
Boxing and basketball are very different sports, but both men have remained around the top of the game their whole careers, are both well into their 30s, and have the finish line in sight.
Bryant's teammate Metta World Peace was ringside to witness Mayweather in action Saturday, and gave an intriguing evaluation of the two men.
"They have a lot in common," World Peace told Yahoo! Sports. "When you get great athletes and look at them you see these similarities in the way their mind works.
"There is this focus and mindset that comes from knowing you have the physical and technical ability to outperform your opponent, that you are starting out with that advantage already in your pocket. From there it is about executing when it matters, and they have both done that time and time again."
The obvious difference between the two: Mayweather is able to run his own show and control his own outcome, while Bryant has to work within the confines of a team structure.
"Sometimes Kobe tries too hard," World Peace said. "He wants to win so bad, and it makes him want to do a little bit too much. He feels that pressure of needing to try to carry his teammates on his shoulders and get them over the line. Kobe is more flashy that Floyd, but basketball is also that kind of sport.
"If you are flashy in basketball and make a mistake, you might lose the ball. If you do it in boxing, you could get knocked out. Floyd just wants to get the job done and that is what he did against Guerrero. In boxing, that is how you are going to last for a long time. You don’t see a lot of boxers sticking around for as long as Floyd and still beating everyone like that."
Longevity is something the two stars definitely have in common. And for an avid basketball fan like Mayweather, a comparison to Kobe Bryant is something he'd surely endorse.
Related Floyd Mayweather coverage on Yahoo! Sports:
• Floyd Mayweather puts on clinic, tops Robert Guerrero
• Why Floyd Mayweather Jr. can't be considered greatest of all-time
• Fans boo Floyd Mayweather's 'boring' style
• Celebrities, athletes react to fight on Twitter